Have you tried curating content for your education programs? Rather than creating all your course content from scratch, learning content curation can help you to update and extend your member education programs with new material. Content curation has been around for hundreds of years, since humans started collecting and organizing information and artifacts, but it has taken on a new meaning in this age of the internet and social media – now there is more information at your fingertips than ever before.
Curation is more than just collecting information, however. From the Latin ‘curare’, curate means ‘to take care’ and 'curator' refers to the person who is responsible for taking care of and managing a collection. As the Learning and Development, Training, or Education director for your association, you are the curator of the education resources your association provides to members. As L&D Managers know, reviewing and refreshing your content is important to ensure that your members are engaged and interested in learning. David Kelly has written several articles on the importance of content curation as a core competency for the Learning Professional skill set. A recent article in Learning Solutions magazine also outlines the importance of interpreting and organizing the information collected, to ensure its relevancy and usefulness.
“Content curation focuses on the accuracy, relevance, usefulness, value, and other aspects of knowledge assets. Curators are less focused on finding more content than they are on making sure what they have is the right content."
What tools are at the curator’s disposal to help determine the relevancy and value of your education resources? Well, one of the most useful tools for learning content curation for member education programs is your Association Learning Management System.
Using your LMS as a Content Curation Tool
In looking at the Association LMS as a Learning Content Curation tool, let’s use David Kelly’s definition of the layers of curation in order to explore all the ways your LMS can help to curate your education program content.
Aggregation: Gathering and sharing relevant content. It releases the individual worker from needing to seek out the content.
The course catalog in your LMS is the repository for all your education program content. It is easily accessible from your website via single-sign-on (SSO), and your members can access all the content and resources available to them, based on the definition of their user role. With TopClass LMS, learners can also share course details from the catalog on their social networks or by email to their peers.
Filtering: Instead of simply aggregating content, filtering shares only those resources that are most relevant and valuable.
Being able to organize, filter and search your content easily using a range of criteria is essential. With a good Association LMS, like TopClass, you can easily filter and search your content by subject area or career specialization, associated credit type, or other criteria. You can also show different content collections to different user groups. This ensures that members do not waste time searching through content that is not relevant to them, instead, they can easily access and engage with the content they need, helping you to deliver value to them.
Elevation: Recognizing a larger trend in the sea of seemingly less important content.
When you notice a particular subject or interest area is ‘trending’ or starting to generate a higher level of interest among your members, your LMS can help you to elevate your relevant content in the eyes and minds of your learners in several ways. For example, for trends you notice from your community discussions or social network interactions, you can use the news widget on the dashboard to highlight and share curated articles and links from the web relevant to the trending topic. You could use the email feature within your LMS to notify your members about your courses on the topic and encourage them to register. You may even decide to offer a promotional price for courses on the trending topic for a limited time, which is sure to pique the interest of members and help them to see the value in your offering.
Your LMS reporting can also help you to notice trends by analyzing the data from your reports. An LMS tracks and maintains a great deal of learner data that can be very useful to associations for learning content curation. For instance, TopClass LMS tracks purchases, time of purchases, learner progress through courses and certification programs, credit hours, test results, training history, and so much more. This can help you to notice trends in how your members engage with your learning content, and allows you to really understand if your members and learners are getting value from your course catalog. You can use this to continue to improve the value of your education offering for members, by curating the collection to remove out of date information, refresh courses that need a bit of updating, or preserving and promoting successful courses that continue to provide value to your members.
Mashups: Merging two or more unrelated pieces of content to form a new message.
In reviewing the trends and data from your LMS reports, you may decide that in curating your content that a particular course is not working, but there is a valuable piece of content that should be preserved. You could combine this with other, newer content to give a new perspective for your learners. Or you could ‘mashup’ or combine a series of separate short classes, or chunks of content, to create a new course or module for a topic, as we are seeing with the current trend for microlearning. Your LMS catalog and reports will let you clearly see what resources you have, so that you can make informed decisions about how to structure and present your content to make it relevant and valuable to your learners.
Timelines: Organizing random pieces of content in chronological order to show the evolution of an idea.
Your Association LMS can create timelines for learning by organizing content into courses or modules that must be completed sequentially. Some Associations create learning pathways for topics by organizing content with rules for prerequisites, so that classes or modules must be completed in a specific order. You can also punctuate courses with quizzes or tests to assess your learners’ understanding at each stage of the course.This can ensure your learners can evolve their understanding of an idea as they progress through the content.
Now you know how your LMS can help you with learning content curation, you might also want to check out this mini-course recommended by the analysts at Tagoras to help you get started with curating learning content: How to Curate Content and Knowledge Like a Pro
If you would like to see a demo of the LMS features that can help you with learning content curation, contact us today!